Blepharitis (cont.)

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How is blepharitis diagnosed?

Blepharitis can be usually diagnosed by a physician based on the history as given by the patient and the physical examination.

Taking a history includes a discussion of symptoms that the patient is experiencing and a review of any general health problems that may be contributing to the eye problem.

The physical examination concentrates on an evaluation of the eyelids, lid margins, base of the lashes, oil gland openings, tear quantity and quality, and the front surface of the eyeball using a slit lamp, which allows a magnified view with sufficient illumination.

The type of blepharitis is determined based on this examination, and appropriate treatment recommended.

Occasionally, cultures are taken by swabbing the discharge and sending this to the laboratory. In some cases, an allergy evaluation may be required.

What are complications of blepharitis?

It is unusual for blepharitis to cause serious problems, however; blepharitis can lead to a number of other conditions.

  • Sty: A sty or hordeolum is a bacterial infection in one of the oil glands whose opening is clogged. The result is a painful lump on the edge or inside of your eyelid.
  • Chalazion: A chalazion or conjunctival granuloma occurs when blockage in the oil glands causes them to become enlarged and scarred.
  • Chronic pink eye: Blepharitis can lead to recurrent bouts of pink eye (conjunctivitis).
  • Ulceration of the cornea: Constant irritation from inflamed eyelids or misdirected eyelashes may cause a sore (ulcer) to develop on your cornea.

Blepharitis does not affect vision generally, although a poor tear film may intermittently blur vision, causing varying amounts of fluctuating vision during the day. Call your ophthalmologist if you develop significant changes in vision since this symptom is not due to the blepharitis.

Call your ophthalmologist if you develop these symptoms, which are not due to blepharitis:

  • Significant changes in vision
  • A sore on the eyelid that persists or
  • increases in size, especially if it is red, bleeding and not healing
  • Significant pain in either or both eyes
  • Symptoms which become worse or last for longer than two weeks
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2013

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